August 01, 2001

Athens in Astoria: Greek wine and food where the Aegean meets the East River

As the heat of the day dissipates into the night, friends gather under the blue awning of the patio. The scent of linden mingles with that of roasting meat; the warbling notes of bouzouki fade in and out with the waxing and waning of conversation. We sip ouzo and chat, picking at plates of olives, of octopus, of salad and crisp-fried smelts. Time goes by and with it more plates: roast lamb nestled in orzo, stuffed tomatoes bursting their skins, a whole fish roasted over an open fire and a different one baked. The ouzo turns to wine turns to coffee and honey-drenched sweets; a typical late night in the neighborhood and people are still flowing in.

Are we in Greece? No, but we're as close as I've come in the nine years since I lived there. This is Astoria, Queens, a borough of New York populated by more Greeks than any city outside of Athens.

Read the rest of the article at Wine & Spirits magazine.

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